Since writing the first part of this story, all I’ve been looking forward to is having enough quiet time to be able to write the second part. There’s so much of this part of the story that’s not quite clear in my mind, that having the chance to put it into some semblance of order will be a relief. The introduction was easy because it’s a story that’s been swimming round my head for 14 years, but 4 years is still relatively recent and I’ve been medicated for 3 of those! There are chunks of the story that have come into conversation multiple times over the years and other parts that have popped into my mind on a surprisingly regular basis,but as for the clarity of events, that’s not quite there yet. It’s all there, I just need to file it into order.
In the gap of time that we had no contact (and the fact that it was 10 years is surreal, to say the least!) I don’t think there was ever any great amount of time that he wasn’t in my mind in some capacity or other. The majority of the time was probably spent kicking myself for having made such stupid life decisions and trying to continually justify to myself that it must have been for the greater good or it wouldn’t have happened. The fact that his birthday falls on a internationally celebrated day kinda makes it impossible for that annual reminder to die. That and the fact it’s the month after mine means it’s the next logical reminder. Silly things remind you of someone and you sometimes don’t even realise you’re thinking of them until you check yourself.
So, It was 2009 and everything was set for me to marry my current husband. On having lunch with either best friend 1 or 2 (I’m not quite clear of which one it was, but probably 2) the conversation came up about whether I was sure about what I was doing. At that point shit hadn’t fully hit the fan with us, and the connection that he and I have always had was undeniable, but found myself saying that the one and only person who could make me wonder if I was doing the right thing would be if Sandman randomly popped up out of nowhere. Almost like saying Beetlejuice‘s name too many times, as if by magic, 2 days later I got a “remember me?” on friends reunited. Eh? Really? Did I remember him? Obviously he would have had no idea whatsoever that all I had done for the previous 10 years was think about him but did he really think he could be that forgettable? That familiar cold chill went down my spine and my tummy went into a whole flight of butterflies, but the coincidence was just too much. The answers that I was seeking were being placed firmly in my lap. I was excited, surprised, shocked, flattered, happy and petrified all at the same time and I’d not even replied yet! It’s almost like your subconscious knows that an action you are undertaking is way more huge than your conscious could ever let you realise. Whatever happened from this point on could be, potentially, life changing.
The banter resumed, as if no time had passed, almost immediately. There was obvious relief that I hadn’t snubbed him or literally forgotten about him and neither of us was looking for anything (again, consciously) but there was the undertone of being fully aware of how dangerous contact actually was. He was settled (although bored and possibly unhappy) in his world and mine was going down a very set path at that point but ‘what ifs’ are dangerous. It was obvious that it was a mutual thing that we had always had an unknown hanging over our heads, but to slot straight back into exactly the same dynamics we had all those years ago was comforting and did nothing but confirm that whatever we happened to share was special. He was lucky enough to have had kids and I was the one that never had. Ironic really considering it was my only dream and before me he was just never fussed at the idea of the little buggers. It took us next to no time to realise that us having this thing hanging over our heads wasn’t helping us so we’d have to just go with whatever was right at the time to try and either get answers or closure. Hey, it sounded good at the time!
I genuinely have no idea how long we were talking before we got disturbingly honest with each other, knowing our track record probably about 2 messages. Again, I have no idea how long we were talking before we decided that we had to spend time together. All in the intention of gaining answers to those huge questions, you understand, obviously would have no ulterior motive other than that. Either of us. Yes, we were this delusional! Whatever it was, we had to justify to ourselves the uncontrollable need to be in each other’s company again. It had been too long and we needed to know if things actually would have turned out the way we’d suspected all of those years ago or if anything would have fizzled or died by then. No fizzling, no death, damn that chemistry messing with our lives!
Seeing someone you’ve not seen in 10 years, with a memory of them just as fresh in your mind as the last time you saw that person is surreal when they actually look 10 years older! He looked like a grown up, that’s just wrong! The things that hadn’t ever changed were the expressions, the accent, the warmth, the bashfulness, the sense of humour and the obvious love that just flowed from every part of him. I felt at home again. All of those things just made me love more the fact that he looked like a grown up. We weren’t kids anymore and still all of those things that we felt were real, that was a huge surprise. Surprising, confusing and yet comforting at the same time.
How could we have been so stupid when we were younger to not realise what it was that we had? We knew about our own side of things but weren’t confident enough to think for a second that the other would be in the same mindset. This had seemed to become crystal clear that we shoulda, woulda, coulda all of those years ago but they say everything happens for a reason. I had my own flat at that time and I never took for granted the space and freedom that it afforded me, but it also made things all the easier for us to spend sneaky time together! We saw each other a few truly amazing times, but often talked about getting the chance to spend a whole night together without having to just snatch time. Any time we did spend together was fully appreciated and cherished but we just needed more and more. By some kind of miracle we actually managed an overnight, but the fear/guilt was starting to strike him by then. It was becoming more and more obvious that we had the decision stage looming up ahead of us and our logical sides have always been the driving force of our minds. It was exactly the same decision we had 10 years previously but it wasn’t just me making it this time. If things had been different, there’s not a doubt in my mind that we would have given us a go but he had kids to think about and the idea that he felt like he was ruining my life seemed to plague him. He never was ruining my life but he took the responsibility onto himself because he’s a truly good person and seemed to want to protect me from it all.
Just as our previous cycle had dictated, he ended up stepping into the shadows to try and avoid carrying the responsibility of hurting anyone. We had discussed the fact that we had expected to get hurt ourselves and it just seemed like the lowest damage point. Neither of us could have lived with ourselves if we ever felt like we’d ruined anyone’s lives so, as seems to be our way, we got put on hold. No closure, no end, just hold. That’s all everything has ever felt like for me, like we’re just waiting for the right circumstances to align to give us permission to be exactly that – us. We will continue to concentrate on the greater good but there’s only so much that you can put yourself last. Sometimes you just need to be a little selfish and do things that people wouldn’t understand or necessarily agree with, just to maintain your sanity. There is a love unlike any other but as a great man once said “the course of true love never did run smooth”.